Radio From Hell (Part 2) | Buzz Blog
Support the Free Press.
Facts matter. Truth matters. Journalism matters.
Salt Lake City Weekly has been Utah's source of independent news and in-depth journalism since 1984.
Donate today to ensure the legacy continues.

Radio From Hell (Part 2)


1 comment
***Just joining us? You're missing out on so much then.  Click here for Part 1. ---

Richie, how was your time down in St. George working in broadcasting and what made you move up here to SLC?

It was Cedar City, actually. But it was always my plan to move back to SLC when I finished with college. I wanted to work with a radio station like the one I worked with when I was in college. That’s what X96 provided me.

Gavin: How did you get involved with the intern program, and what was it like for you working for the show at that time?

Richie: I got involved into the intern program at X96 when I invited Gina to come down to a “summit” I had organized. She talked about being on radio and her and I kinda hit it off. That was in the fall of 2003. I told her that Christmas I wanted to be her intern and she said… "Uhh, OK." So that first and second winters I interned, all I did was read the newspaper and highlight stories that interested me.

Gavin: When did the decision come to make Richie the Executive Producer, and what was it like for everyone bringing him into the fold in that capacity?

Richie: I think the decision came about because they wanted someone to do all the grunt work and they didn’t want to do it.

He worked his way into that job. Told us from day one that’s what he wanted to do. I love working with people who are fans of radio and love it and live it. I hate working with people who are in it because "something else’ didn’t work out." Richie is a believer in the product he creates. He is damned good.

Bill: Being the smart boy he is, Richie started hanging around the show while he was still a student at SUU. He also worked for free, like an intern, for a while. We pushed to get him a paid position as producer of the show and he has helped us grow and stay vital in ways that are too numerous to mention.

Gina: Richie made himself indispensable almost immediately. We would not be the show we are today without him..He keeps us organized and moving forward. He makes things happen. It would be extremely detrimental if we lost him.

Gavin: Since that time the intern program has really picked up and become more involved with the show over time. What's it like for all of you bringing in these people and having them go off to do great things with their careers in return?

I thinks its cool. I wish there was such a program when I was starting out.

Bill: My heart will swell with pride at the success of our interns as long as they continue to get me coffee and take my car to the car wash and babysit my children and make sure my dry cleaning is picked up. If there are any potential interns out there who also have experience with house painting and roofing skills, please contact Richie immediately.

Richie: The intern program that I have created is one of the top five things I am most proud of during my time here at X96.

Gavin: Over the years you've brought in many people for segments. Kyle, Punk, Sean Means, Jeff Vice, Bill Frost, Margaret Ruth, Dottie Dixon and an ever growing list. Do you have a personal favorite over the years or is it hard to pick with everyone bringing something different?

Richie: Hard to pick. I miss Mario Morales who did our Spanish Language Lesson years ago.

Punk just kills me. Damn he can make me laugh.

Most of these people made a name for themselves by just being entertaining friends of the program. We are fans of funny, whether it comes from a professional or from just a regular listener. These are people we felt could add something to the show, so we kept asking them back. It's hard, of course to pick a favorite, although Bill Frost would stop stalking me if I didn't say it was him.

Bill: I have no favorites, but I do miss someone you didn't mention... our happy, hippy homemaker Louise.

Gavin: Back in 2008 you hit the 5000th episode, and if you count early KJQ days; the entity of this show has been around for nearly 25 years. What are your thoughts on being around for this long, and having the kind of impact you've had on this community?

Bill: Thanks for listening.

Impact on the community? Wow. Flattering you think its that important.We have three more years on the new contract. I love doing it. At the time I’m writing this I’m thinking maybe I’d like to try something else, I don’t know what yet. Something that I don’t have to get up at 3AM for.

Richie: I love that they have been around that long because it makes my job easier.

Gavin: When the feature in Rolling Stone happened, was there any grand thought that you had made the big time in a certain way, or just more reserved jubilation?

Richie: I know for me personally it was a huge day. Something that I had planned made it into Rolling Stone. I think the morning show would probably say just another day, but secretly they loved it.

I thought that was very cool. I was in the magazine that made Hunter S. Thompson famous. Still kinda cool for me.

Bill: It was quite exciting for a day or two but I barely remember it now. It's in the past and you can't coast on that kind of thing. Who remembers it, really, other than us and you, Gavin.

Gina: My mom was pretty excited, but nobody around the station seemed to be very impressed.

Gavin: The big thing to talk about is you've renewed your contract late last year for another three years. What's your take on having that kind of support from the ownership during these times in radio, and in a couple years possibly becoming the longest running teams in the state's history?

Gina: We have that kind of support because we perform. It feels wonderful to have ownership that appreciates what we do and wants us to keep doing it for them.

Richie: For as much crap as we give our management it is very important to us (obviously) that they renewed the contract. We believe in us, and they should too. The industry is going through challenging times, but so is everything else. Only the strong will survive. As to longest show… I think that Doug Wright still has us (collectively) by six or seven years.

Kerry: Even if we do become the longest running team in the state's history, we will never be recognized by our peers in the market. A lot of them think that we have been lucky. They have no idea how hard we work, because we make it sound easy.

Bill: Again, thanks for listening everybody.

Gavin: Going local for a bit, what's your take on our area as a whole, both good and bad?

Bill: I love listening to radio and it makes me sad that there's not much, locally, that I want to listen to. The same goes for most of the syndicated stuff. You hear good radio from Doug Fabrizio on “Radio West”, and there are entertaining shows on KRCL.

Salt Lake City is a very saturated radio market. I think that there are many talented people working in radio here in Salt Lake. I think there are also a lot that are not working. I think those that are good at what they do it is reflected in the ratings they receive. ZHT and KSL. They know people want locally and that will always be where radio wins.

I stopped listening to local radio because its "work" to me. And its awful. In general, radio's problem is decisions are made by people who don’t understand their customer. They’ve never met their customers. The customer is a ‘"demographic" on a spread sheet.

Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make things better?

No. Its too late.

There are good local radio hosts out there who don't get the chance to show what they can do because management doesn't trust them. This is a longer discussion than I can get into here. Suffice it to say, Tom Barberi should have a talk show and Mark Van Wagoner should be doing something as well.

There needs to be a training ground for up and coming DJs to get on the air, make mistakes, and get stuff figured out. That will be the death of radio... if there is one.

Gina: Radio stations owned by people that love radio and love their community. If they truly loved these things, we would have a nurturing environment for grooming new talent. There is no such place now.

Gavin: What are your thoughts on other morning shows and the work they do both as competition and fellow broadcasters?

Bill: You really don't want to hear about what I think about other morning shows. It's not kind.

I’m not going to say. If they knew what I thought they could do better, they might use it against me. I don’t want to help them, I want to crush them. I won't be a "Bond Villain" who tells them what the big plan is.

Richie: Specifically ZHT and KSL, I think these people are very talented at what they do. They connect to their listeners the way that they want to be connected with. That doesn’t mean I enjoy their show, but they get people motivated and tuned in by what they put on the air. There are a few who could lose an ego point or two and I wouldn’t be too upset.

Gavin: I know its a frequent joke, but what are your honest thoughts on winning awards (i.e. Best Morning Show) over the years and gaining that kind of recognition?

I appreciate every one. I am thankful.

Bill: Again, thanks for listening.

Gina: We would be lying if we said they weren't important or that we didn't care. We do, especially things like City Weekly where listeners vote. I don't have a job if they don't like us.

Richie: Love it and it matters. If any one says different I call BS!

Gavin: This will probably sound like an odd question, but provided the show goes on long enough, what's the final goal you'd like to see happen for Radio From Hell?

All of us to retire when we want to instead of being forced to. And, I hope we're all millionaires. I think Gina's already pretty close to that goal, though.

Gina: I don't want it to end, so I can't imagine what the final goal would be.

A European vacation to end the show and then slip off into obscurity.

Again, that’s something I won't reveal. Stay tuned.

Gavin: What can we expect from all four of you the rest of this year, and what major events do you have this year for the show?

Still planning stuff. Stay tuned!

Bill: You'll all find out when we do.

Personally working to bring back the Live & Local show, Ten Cities In Ten Days, maybe another vacation. “Lost” Party.

Gavin: Aside the obvious, is there anything that you guys would like to plug or promote?

Richie: SLIDE Show Improv. My family, God and my “Not Girlfriend” for being there. And for Kerry, Bill and Gina teaching me about radio.

Can't think of anything right now, but I will tell you on the air if something comes up. Those new “Iron Man 2” action figures are awesome.